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How oft when thou, my music, music play’st
Upon that blessèd wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway’st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy' those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood’s boldness by thee blushing stand.
To be so tickled they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blest than living lips.
  Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
  Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.
Very often, when you (my greatest source of delight) play music by moving those wooden keys on the keyboard of the


The virginal is a keyboard instrument similar to a harpsichord.

with your sweet fingers, confusing my ear with the harmony of those plucked strings, I envy the keys. They leap up and kiss the tender underside of your hands, while my poor lips, who ought to be doing the kissing, stand by, blushing at the boldness of the keys. To be tickled like those keys are, my lips would gladly be transformed into wood and change places with the keys, over which your fingers gently walk, blessing the dead wood more than my living lips. Since the keys are so happy to touch your fingers, let them have the fingers, but give me your lips to kiss.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets